How to Destroy Creativity and Innovation

How to Destroy Creativity and Innovation

How to Destroy Creativity and Innovation

How to Destroy Creativity and Innovation

1. Keeping people in the dark
“It’s just not right. I can’t tell you why, but I just don’t like it.”
“I know exactly what I want, but can’t explain it. When I see it, though, I’ll tell you.”

2. Dictatorships
“Here’s my idea and how to execute it!”
“Here’s my idea, what’s yours?”

3. Unrealistic time frames
“It’s only one page. It shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete.”
“I know there’s no reason to have it tomorrow, but I want it then anyway.”

4. Procrastination
“We really do want suggestions. It’s not our fault if we’re too busy to act on them.”
“I think we’ve got it now. I only have minor corrections to the thirteenth draft.”

5. Formalities and protocol
“Put it in writing.”
“Make sure your ideas conform to our format.”
“Don’t ask questions, just follow the rules.”

6. Bureaucracy
“It’s a great idea. Now just get the 10 required signoffs and we’re ready to roll.”

7. Discouraging new ideas
“I won’t have time to meet with you, so why don’t you drop it in the mail?”
“I personally wouldn’t do it, but why don’t you try anyway?”
“Don’t come up with ideas, just do your job.”

8. The evaluation process
“Rather than take the time to give you my comments, it’ll be easier if I take care of it myself.”

9. Incentives
“Why say thank you? It’s his job, isn’t it?”

10. Fear of failure
“Even though you let me down last time, I’m going to give you another chance.”
“Will you bet your job on it?”

11. Politics
“What will the boss think?”
“I wonder if my idea will offend anyone.”

12. Resistance to change
“If it’s such a great idea, how come no one ever came up with it before?”
“We’ve never done it this way before.”

13. The caste system
“Why should I listen to you? It’s not your area of expertise.”

Additional Reading:
13 Elements of a Great Strategy
Where Did the Time Go?
Trust Me: 55 Ways to Build Trust and Credibility

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  1. Kim Phillips says

    To this brilliant list I would add one more: not knowing what you want in the first place. If you don’t (or can’t communicate it), no amount of creativity or innovation will please you.

    • Frank Sonnenberg says

      Great thought Kim! It’s funny. . .as soon as I read your statement several people’s faces flashed in my head. I wonder if everyone’s experiencing the same with the other 13 points.

      Have an awesome day!



  2. Craig Daniels says

    Thanks Frank for the great list, everyone should be posting it above their desk and mailing it to their bosses (anonymously if necessary.

    • Frank Sonnenberg says

      Thanks Craig. Actually, posting it on the wall is a good idea because no one would feel personally threatened. Who knows . . . maybe you’ll see some behavioral changes.

      Have an awesome weekend!



  3. JRD says

    Great list… However you left out the number one reason… Enactment of the new Patent Law Philosophy…First to file…. it counters so many of the good items in your list….

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